A classic rock ballad, "Beth" by Kiss, that inspired a thought balloon—"Wouldn't it be funny to hear Beth's side of the story?"—is now a short film. The four-and-a-half-minute piece from Bob Winter, executive creative director at Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami, centers around a 1970s-era phone call between Beth and an actor portraying Peter Criss, the band's original drummer and co-writer of the song.
Beth is home, cooking meat loaf and wondering when Peter will get home. Peter is in the studio, unable to commit to a time (he keeps repeating a refrain in the song, "What can I do?") and anxious to get back to recording. He and his bandmates are inexplicably dressed in full costume and face paint, despite being nowhere near a concert hall. Ah, but hey, what says Kiss more than makeup and platform boots?
The back and forth turns hostile when Peter, who said he'd be home in a few hours, shifts to another line in the song: "I hope you'll be all right 'cause me and the boys will be playing all night." "What?" Beth replies, stunned. "Peter, you just said you were going to be a couple of hours. I made dinner. It took me all afternoon to make. You know what? … I might as well just throw it into the garbage." Rather than reply, Peter sighs, leaves the phone cord hanging and returns to the boys, sits down behind a piano and belts out the song. Beth doesn't hear it, though. She glumly hangs up and sits down to eat with her two children.
Directed by Brian Billow of Anonymous Content, the film feels part Behind the Music and part Saturday Night Live, with just enough '70s home décor (beige stone, dull wood cabinets, toaster oven) to make you yearn for The Brady Bunch. Winter first got the idea for the spoof when he was chief creative officer at Young & Rubicam in Chicago. As he told Adweek previously, "I was thinking that it might be fun to create a series that's like the made-up stories behind real songs."
Asked this week what's next, Winter replied, "Maybe the next song is 'Jump' by Van Halen, and it turns out it was really about one band member helping another band member avoid stepping in dog poop. Something serious like that."
Director: Brian Billow
Production Company: Anonymous Content
Senior Executive Producer: Eric Stern
Executive Producer, Production: SueEllen Clair
Producer: Paul Ure
Writer: Bob Winter
Director of Photography: Darran Tiernan
Editor: John Dingfield, Beast Editorial
Beth: Lilli Birdsell
Peter: Steven Olson
Kid #1: Michael Hamilton
Kid #2: Robert Hamilton
Ace: Roy Green
Paul: Alec Paul Cartinian
Gene: Rocco Fonzarelli
Roadie: Jason Lee Beckwith
Performer, Beth Piano Intro: Coleman Zurkowski